2v2 Unholy Death Knight/Resto Shaman.

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2v2 Unholy Death Knight/Resto Shaman.

Post by Jeezus on Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:22 am

General Information
Updated: 6/12/09: 3.1 update.

Welcome to Rice's guide to 2v2 Unholy Death Knight/Resto Shaman. I will be exploring the different strategies and techniques used by this composition to succeed in the arena ladder from the Shaman's point of view. All of the content in this guide is completely original, that is, we did not copy anybody else's tricks (on purpose, anyway).

So you're probably wondering why you should play this comp if you're a Shaman or DK, or wondering why you should fear this comp if you're not one of those two classes. Well, like every comp in 2v2, it definitely has its strengths and weaknesses.

Before we get into game play details, we'll need to take a look at what kind of spec and gear you need to have.

NOTE: This guide assumes you have *some* arena experience. If you are just starting out, this may be slightly advanced for you, but feel free to ask questions about anything you don't understand.
With 3.1 upon us, nothing has really changed as far as specs go.

Personally, I feel that the 8/x/x spec is not worth it. You basically spend 8 talent points for 6% more hp. Those 8 talent points can be better spent on other things.

I am a fan of the 0/18/53 spec. Really, any variation of the standard 0/1x/5y spec will work, as long as you have the basic required talents. There is some leeway in different variants of the PvP resto spec, but the differences are so minute (except toughness) that it really doesn't matter too much.

The main variant is toughness, but ever since its conception back in Burning Crusade, I just don't think it's worth a 5 point investment for what it brings. The biggest thing that it helps with is reducing chains of ice's initial slow to 70%. Other than that, warriors and rogues will still have very little trouble staying on you. The 10% stamina helps if you're undergeared but is otherwise too inefficient of an investment.

My Spec: http://www.wowdb.com/talent.aspx?id=7#f27e5fef20ef2ebe3cebfe3be3fe6:
Crit or mp5?

Because your partner is a DK, you will have many, many opportunities to drink due to chains of ice. This means that you should go for the crit gear ("of dominance"). I have not regretted going crit from the start. With that being said, crit will also obviously boost your healing throughput as well as proc ancestral healing more often. If you're worried about ancestral awakening making you sit up from heal-drinking, don't. It only happens if you crit heal yourself right before sitting down. It will not make you stand if you crit heal your partner. With that being said, always go into arena with a LOT of water in your bags (60-100 minimum)
There have been hints that mp5 gear may receive a buff in an upcoming patch, so investing in a few mp5 pieces may not be a bad idea. However, I will still be sporting mostly crit, unless the buff is very good. This comp mainly relies on high burst to kill an opponent, not outlasting (some comps require outlasting though). You want to spend as little time healing as possible and instead use that time assisting your partner or dropping totems. The only way to do that is to get a lot of crit heals so you spend more globals doing other things.

What about hit?

Before you start stacking too much crit, you need to make sure you have at LEAST 4% spell hit (105 rating for non-draenei, ~79 rating for draenei). This allows you to hit the soft PvP cap, which means under most circumstances, none of your offensive abilities will miss. This is very vital for several reasons. First of all, since Shamans have Hex, it is imperative that this ability does not miss because of its 45 second cooldown (war stomp is also affected if you're a tauren like me!). I remember one specific game where we lost because both my hex and my war stomp missed the same rogue, and I have learned my lesson since. Second of all, you do not want to miss your damage spells when you burst an opponent down for a kill attempt! Assisted burst from the shaman is very critical, and is one of the strong points of this composition.

You may have noticed from my armory that I have opted for 6% spell hit. I have an extra 2% spell hit to negate night elf, tauren, and blood elf racials. It's a good investment if you really hate seeing "miss" on hexes and shocks. I absolutely refuse to play with less than 6% hit. Note, however, that -hit% talents cannot be negated by stacking more hit. 6% is the absolute max you should use.

So what do you wear?

I plan to wear 4 piece mail (crit) set gear and 1 piece ringmail (mp5) set gear. I wear both pvp rings, the spell hit pvp necklace and cloak, and every other piece has crit. I gem mostly for resilience and spell power, but I make sure to make up the hit deficit from gear with hit gems. However, gemming for stamina is always a good idea if your health is not up to par.
As for enchants, I opted for the spell power/resilience head and shoulder from Wintergrasp. All other enchants are fairly standard spell power enchants and all of the enchants will of course vary depending on your professions.

The best in slot for weapon is obviously Val'Anyr. Second best would be Constellus or Furious Mageblade or Salvation (Aesuga and Guiding Star are OK too). For shields, you want to either use Wisdom's Hold, PvP shield, or maybe Ice Layered Barrier (Voice of Reason is good too). The PvP totem is also a must.
There are a lot of options as to what trinket combinations you can use. Most people will probably opt for a combination of Medallion of the Horde/Alliance with a Battlemaster's trinket or a PvE trinket. I use Living Ice Crystals from Malygos 25 and probably will continue to use it until Icecrown. Other great PvE trinkets include Pandora's Plea, Soul of the Dead, Sif's Rememberance, and Scale of Fates to name a few. In general, anything with mana return, spell power, and/or intellect will make for a good PvP trinket.
You can always opt for a Platinum Disk / Titan-Forged Rune combination if you don't have enough honor or don't raid. If you are very low on resilience you can go Platinum Disk/Medallion.

Resilience... how much is enough?

In the old versions of my guide, I said that you only needed 800+ to be successful. Not anymore. Unlike other healers, shamans need to stack as much resilience and stamina as humanly possible. There is very little room for using PvE gear outside of weapon/shield/trinket. I would say you now need at least 1000+ resilience to be a formidable healer, but I honestly feel that not even getting resilience capped (1200+) would make a difference in some situations. In particular, melee classes with lvl 239 weapons will destroy you if you are not geared to the teeth.


There is no more debating on what the best PvP healing glyphs are. Lesser Healing Wave, Earth Shield, and Stoneclaw Totem are the only ones you should ever consider. None of the other glyphs are even close.


Keep in mind this is not recommended only for Shaman/DK, I recommend these for ALL Shamans in ALL brackets of arena.

You need to have a focus frame with a focus cast bar. This is for the opposing healer or mage/warlock. Any standard unit frame mod should have this; I personally use x-perl, but other mods like pitbull or AG unit frames work fine too. Make the focus cast bar gigantic.

You need to have a spell alerter mod. The best one I've found is Kollektiv's spellalerter mod (fitting name). The only downside is that you have to add a lot of definitions to its list because it's missing some critical spells, namely things like divine shield and other miscellaneous cooldowns. I think I've at least doubled the original definition list in size - I put just about everything in there.

You need to have a mod that shows totems and their timers, as well as a mod that shows your shield charges. My personal favorite is totemtimers. It'll show the totems' durations, when totems pulse, and shield charges all at the same time. It will also alert you when totems and shields are destroyed or faded.

You need to have an announcer for grounding totem and shocks. This is to help relay the information with your teammates so you can better coordinate your abilities. Shaman friend is a good candidate.

You need to have either gladius or proximo to keep tabs on the other team's health, mana, and cooldowns.

Other helpful addons that I use include Cooldown Timers 3, Afflicted 3, and SCT.

Battlecruiser operational!

So you're ready to queue up for some arena now. What can you expect to meet, and how can you deal with the different challenges that come to pass? I will now explore the actual gameplay mechanics against the popular setups in 2v2.

Here is some insight from my partner's perspective:
DK Perspective:
Basically as the DK in this setup you have three rules to live by:

1.) Protect your healer
3.) Capitalize off mistakes with a strangulate kill

The first rule is simple. DG just as your healer goes around a corner to give him LOS. Spam chains on people going for him. Keep BB up even you even suspect the dps wants to go for him. Pulling melee (NOT FERALS) to the lower level in Sewers is another way to do this.

Second rule is very vague, but since each comp is different, pressure means different things. For us, it usually means just raw damage output. Force the healer to heal, not go offensive. You should have all dots up on both targets at all times. Drag dps towards their healer if they're out of range (just don't range/los your healer!). The more damage you deal, the more they have to heal. The more they have to heal, the less other stuff they can do. The less other stuff they can do, the more freedom your healer has to drink/do what he needs to do to help you win. Against some comps, instead of peeling, insane pressure on the healer to force the dps to resort to peeling rather than dps can be an effective strategy. Use AMS offensively, not defensively. You see a feral pop into caster to cast? Use it. He's just wasted 3-4 seconds and let your Shaman top off while accomplishing nothing on you. He's now 3 seconds behind you. It's the little things like this that can make or break games. Finding different ways to do this against different comps is what wins games. Pressure leads opposing teams to make mistakes, which leads to rule number 3.

Capitalize on mistakes. There are so many games that we shouldn't win that we do. One of the best things to do is pressure a team hard with diseases ticking. The SECOND you see the healer dip below 60% or so, gargoyle and make a quick switch to him, mind freezing the current heal and call it out on vent. Follow it with a pet stun about 2.5 seconds in. Then Strangulate. Your Shaman should have lusted on his way over, and throw a burst spell. Pop Empower Rune Weapon and just lay into the healer, using DG if they get out of range. Most times, a healer will either be forced to blow every cooldown and barely live, or they get so surprised they simply die. There are other ways to capitalize on mistakes. If a rogue follows your Shaman behind a pillar, pet stun him and wreck him while he's out of LOS of his healer. You'd be surprised how many players even up to the top 10 teams will fall for this occasionally. You really can't PLAN on teams making mistakes, but don't be afraid to make them pay when you see something. Be vocal and call it out.
As always, I'll take requests on comps not covered, provided that I have enough experience against them (do not ask for something weird like hunter/enh shaman).
VS. Death Knight/Druid
VS. Death Knight/Holy Paladin
VS. Druid/Warrior
VS. Retribution Paladin/Healer
VS. Holy Paladin/Warrior
VS. Priest/Rogue
VS. Rogue/Warlock

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